Wednesday, February 22, 2017

El Fin Gran

El Fin Gran

Before this class, I have never watched a telenovela. While learning about the history, production, and globalization of telenovelas, I soon became intrigued.  Even in the early 1900's when telenovelas were first being born into the world of daytime television, melodramas were the dominating elements. When telenovelas were showed in daytime hours, Latin Americans were reeled into each episode salivating over the romance between characters, roaring in anger over corrupt characters and finally shedding tears over the compassionate final episodes. Telenovelas are known for their eyeopening surprise plotwists and gut wrenching cliffhangers that leave audiences craving for the next episode. Millions of Latin Americans plan their day revolving around the hours of telenovelas because for those few hours the telenovela airs, Latin American families forget their own problems by escaping into the to watch captivating plots of a Cinderella romance story of falling hopelessly in love, or discovering a murder and finding the murderer with obstacles.

While learning production of telenovelas, I had no idea that it takes a huge team of producers, actors, and floor managers to produce specific scenes like love affairs and tense sob scenes. The fact telenovela production takes a frenzy of people to just produce a romantic scene is crazy to think about! In order to orchestrate a messy love affair that includes powerful fighting, lustful glaces, and the eventual tearing off of clothes, there must be careful crafting by producers, directors, as well as light and sound teams. During this romantic short scene, not only do the actors have to stimulate chemistry between each other to create an illusion of true love, but each characteristic of each scene must be perfected.

Telenovelas entice global audiences ranging from children watching with their parents, abuelos, the rich and poor, and different countries. Although Hollywood can be seen as the worldwide dominating television producer, Telenovelas are sweeping audiences in different countries.

I am so glad I picked the telenovela Teresa because the entire series was so interesting. In the telenovela I am watching, Teresa , rigorous and extensive production efforts went into mastering all 152 episodes of the series. In the show, the actress that plays Teresa, Angelique Boyer,  had to flawlessly perform Spanish dialogue and then expose her emotions for the show. In addition, the design team for Teresa had to make precise transitions concerning props, wardrobe, and makeup.  I've been watching the telenovela "Teresa" and I've been reeled into the emotional drama and seducing characters. This telenovela confronts the reality of wealth and social status in society. Even from the beginning the characters in the telenovela had intense contrasts. Throughout the first episode, Teresa is revealed as hiding the secret that her family is in poverty and that she lives in the ghetto. The telenovela magnifies Teresa as a social outcast. Teresa is publicized as a social outcast however only after her family's money situation is exposed. When her boyfriend Paulo exposes Teresa's secret as poor, he treats her with genuine disrespect wanting Teresa simply as his mistress because her and her family's social status would not be approved by Paulo's mother Genoveva. The telenovela address the stigma around poor verses rich because people treat others with money higher than those without money. In the beginning, Paulo desires to wed Teresa. However, suddenly when Teresa is unveiled as poor, Paulo throws away his idea of marriage and tells Teresa that he will pay Teresa and bribe her with lavish gifts for a "good time together." Teresa eventually discovers her true self although the road to get there was difficult and paved with obstacles. I have loved learning about telenovelas and discovering my new favorite Netflix show Teresa!

The Effect of Music in Telenovelas

In my Telenovela, Someone’s Watching You, the music affects the mood of the entire story the moment it begins. A lot of the music choices involve Latin American music choices, but as an English-speaking only viewer, the fact that the music still implies the mood of the scene shows how well-crafted the shows are and how well picked the music choices are as well.
            Music is such a significant part of portraying the mood of the scene or enhancing the feelings of the character. In Someone’s Watching You, a lot of the music enhances the theme of the telenovela. Therefore, a lot of the music in the scenes were very reflective of the murder scenes or the impending dooms for some of the characters.

            Music is very essential to telenovelas, if not it would require viewers to do a lot more inferring to discover the mood of the characters, the effect of the previous scenes and the effect on the rest of the telenovela.

Women Are Individuals, Life Is More Than A Love Story

I have to admit, this class had made me fall in love with telenovelas. Like ice-cream bars and tabloids, they are truly a guilty pleasure, and one that I have been and will continue to indulge in (the next one on my list is La Reina Del Sur, but I'm thinking I'll watch the USA version.) But I use words like "admit," and "guilty pleasure," because I truly do feel like loving these shows is often a small crime against myself, and against femininity. So, for my last blog post, I wanted to spend some time talking about the use of love in telenovelas, and how it defines the characters of women on TV.
Let me say this as a foreword: I myself am in a relationship of a year and a half. While I love my boyfriend with my whole heart and much of my life does relate, in some way or another, back to him, I could never surmise my life story by simply telling the story of how we met and fell in love. I could never. My life has so much more to it than the years we've been together. And, even when we've been together for 50 years, I still expect that the sum of my life will be much more than just the sum of our love story. Furthermore, I'm hardly expecting a "happily ever after," life as soon as I get married. In fact, "happily ever after" seems terrifically boring to me. I don't want my wedding day to be the end of my story- my story will be so much more than that.
So, that being said, let's talk about telenovelas. In my telenovela (as I discussed in my last blog post) the female protagonist is constantly- CONSTANTLY- being let down by the male protagonist. He disappoints her in every possible way. By this point, they've made plans to run away together 4 or 5 times, and EVERY SINGLE TIME, Lucas fails to show, and Jade waits for him, only to be disappointed once more. And not only is she disappointed, but Jade (being from a strict Muslim family) is actually in danger of being lashed or stoned to death in the streets. And it's always entirely Lucas' fault! His inability to show-up when it matters most for the girl he supposedly is madly in love with baffles me. But what baffles me even more is that Jade continues to wait for him! Every single time. She's always willing to leave her life behind for the chance that Lucas might show up and whisk her away to a better life.
Here's the problem: loving someone and giving someone your entire life despite of their constant failure to meet expectation is portrayed as a sign of strength. It is not. Loving someone who repeatedly puts your life in danger shows a complete lack of regard for yourself, and for what you deserve. As such, Jade becomes a woman entirely devoted to a man, yet she is still portrayed a strong, independent woman. There is a serious danger in this! What does this teach children, what does this teach women?
Furthermore, (and this is not specific to my telenovela because I haven't actually watched the last episode) it seems as if most telenovelas end with a fairy-tale wedding. And just like that- the story is over. The protagonists are in love, and that's all we need to know. That should be satisfying enough! But, should it be? To me, for a story to culminate with the protagonists finally being able to love one another seems degrading to what semblance of life, importance, and individuality each person has. It implies that love is a resolution to everything- it is not. Love is important, for sure- in my opinion it's the most powerful force in the world, and it can solve most every problem. However, love is not a resolution to any one person's life. To say that is to reduce the individual to their relationship with someone else, which is as good as taking away their individuality all together.
All this being said, clearly not all telenovelas are written in this way. In class, we talked about a telenovela (forgive me, but I can't remember the name) which ended with a woman telling her love interest that it was unrealistic for them to be together, and that even though she loved him, they each needed to move on. This, to me, is a story that needs to be told more often. It reminds me of the novel-turned-movie, Wild, in which Reese Witherspoon starred. By the end of the movie, the main character has no job, no money, no prospects, and no relationship, yet she has profoundly moved and motivated the audience. The world is in need of these stories of independent women, with everything and with nothing, doing amazing things for themselves and for the world WITHOUT the culmination of their story being relative to their relationship with a man- or with anyone else, for that matter. I would be terribly interested in seeing more telenovelas like this.
Of course, none of this means that I don't intend on continuing to indulge my obsession with telenovelas. I absolutely intend to continue doing exactly that. But it does mean that I will take most telenovelas with a grain of salt. Though they are entertaining and a fabulous way to spend a night in, I will not be inspired by the stories, or by the women, and will certainly never wish to be like them. So, like I said- telenovelas are a guilty pleasure. I love them, but I love them with an understanding of their misrepresentation of both women and love.

A final word- It has been a lovely handful of weeks- I feel so blessed to have had this chance to (1) expand my cultural views, and (2) watch telenovelas for a grade!!!! I've loved being in your class and I can't thank you enough for teaching us so well! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Telenovela: A Learning Experience

Art is that brings contrasting cultures, nations divided by language barriers and opposite sides of the world together. Not just art, but the appreciation for said art. Art can be measured in ways bigger than photography, paintings and sculptures because there is art in not only life form but in the way in which we live our lives. There is art in craftsmanship of food and drink, technology and social media and of course, television. 

The art of the telenovela is its ability to convey emotion in a way that charms an audience, a nation and sometimes, whole continents. This art form has completely revolutionized my way of thinking. As telenovelas expands globally, the art is reformed each time it is remade. The adaptation is often made to suit the lifestyles and challenges of different generations in different countries. Telenovelas have the ability to use the facade of a love story  to acknowledge people of the struggles of different socioeconomic classes, racial tensions within ethnicities and magnify the divide between different kinds of different people. This I believe is what truly hooks the audience along with the love story. 

The telenovela is a form of expression that brings community amongst different nations. The power of ratings and the fanbase reminds us that there is power in community and there is power in the people. Another characteristic of the telenovela is its ability to blend fiction into reality. This is what adds to the telenovelas spark. This is why people are able to turn on their televisions every day and tune into the next episode because it allows them forget the troubles they face in their everyday lives. A telenovela simultaneously reminds you of the issues in your society while mesmerizing you with the drama of a love story. I strongly believe that that is what makes this art form so unique.

Throughout the duration of this class, with every lecture my passion for the world cultures have broadened. I came into this class hoping to be more intrigued about the Hispanic culture. To my surprise, I have received more than that. I have become infatuated with the lifestyles and cultures of people beyond Latin-America. I am eager to improve my knowledge of the Brazilian, Spanish, Turkish and Greek cultures to name a few. Through telenovelas, I have learned a lot about the world around me and the power of the consumer. Telenovelas have acquainted me with the issues different types of people experience everyday. Telenovelas have the power to change the community of the world through a love story. And fortunately, that power has been bestowed upon me. 

Telenovelas and Globalization

When I first entered the small, conference room in the Journalism Building at the beginning of the semester, I honestly thought I could easily get through this class without being impacted. I had never even heard of telenovelas and I really wasn’t a huge fan of Spanish in high school (because it was hard for me). Wow, was I wrong on so many levels. Immediately on the first day the topic of telenovelas grabbed my attention. But why? Did I enjoy the various dramatic love triangles? Did I find the actors attractive? The answer to both of those questions is yes, however, the main reason this class almost instantly interested me was the impact behind each and every telenovela. It is crazy for me to fully comprehend that this little industry that emerged in Cuba has managed to spread across the globe.
            In the article Romancing the Globe, the reach of telenovelas is emphasized allowing me to continue to be astounded by this industry that, a few months ago, I never even knew existed. Instantly, the article stunned me by stating that when the telenovela Marimar aired in 1994 it quickly became a global phenomenon. What stunned me the most about Marimar was the fact that mosques in the Ivory Coast in Africa issued the call to prayer early so that people would not miss an episode. That is crazy. They were basically putting this telenovela before their religion so that they would not miss a second of the juicy drama. The only thing I can relate that to would be the Super Bowl because that is the only time I can recall that my church ever moved the time of a mass. Other globalization examples include the fact that Latin American telenovela stars are often times mobbed by fans in places as far as Indonesia. Also, in post war Bosnia, US diplomats had to intervene so that the telenovela Kassandra could stay on air while the Bosnia Serb faction battled over control of the media. These few examples completely blow my mind because telenovelas have literally thrived through war.
In total, around 2 billion people around the world watch telenovelas. That is almost twice the size of China’s large population. Telenovelas originated in Cuba, spread to Latin America, then spread all over the world to places like the US, Europe, the Philippine, Cambodia, Cameroon, Kenya, and even Malaysia. Telenovelas have made huge names for themselves and it was super interesting getting to learn how telenovelas truly are WAY MORE than just melodramas. 

Thank you so much for really changing my perspective on the significance of telenovelas! I can honestly say I will remember what I learned in this class for many years to come!

FIN -- Maria la del barrio

This telenovela went crazy on me. In a good way. As the show develops, so many convoluted and generally awful things happen to the characters, even the antagonist, Soraya. She, too, is chasing after Luis Fernando aka "prince charming". While attempting to sabotage Maria, she falls out of a window. Everyone thinks she's dead (understandably). However, she returns, after marrying and murdering a millionaire in America. What a life. Luis Fernando and Maria, of course, marry, surprisingly early. They have a child, but Luis' jealousy and paranoia forces him to divorce and abandon her. She falls ill to mental illness and literally hands her newborn child to someone on the street.

Luis honestly is a horrible person. He abandoned Maria while she was pregnant with his child. He accused her of being unfaithful again later in the series, and then had an affair himself! What a hypocrite.

After watching this telenovela more, I can further understand the overly "characterized" people on these shows. There are hopeless romantics, hypocrites, and evil mistresses. People aren't actually like any of these things though, at least not to the extreme they are depicted in Telenovelas. But that's just it. These are just glorified examples of everyday people we encounter in our lives, and traits we can find within ourselves. We can all find ourselves lost in romance, contradictory at times, and somewhat mischievous. There are characters we'll love, and characters we'll hate. Just like in real life, there will be some people we can blend with and some will just turn us off.

I'm probably going to view people in terms of Fernandos and Sorayas now.. I hope I meet more Marias though!

This class has been so much fun, and I truly feel inspired, having learned about this world of telenovelas. Thanks Dr. A!

Why are there so many antagonists?

Lo que la Vida me Robo is a telenovela that has absolutely no shortage of drama. This is because, in my opinion, there is a crazy amount of antagonists.
Of course, Graciela, Monserrat's Mom, is evil. She plots against everyone, except her son of course. She lives her life for money and power and her reputation. She has openly admitted that she never loved her husband and was cheating on him for years. Just overall has no redeeming qualities, that is unless you're her son, Dimitrio, who thinks she is the best.
Dimitrio is another of the terrible people on this show. He played with his sisters emotions by hiring a friend to convince Monserrat that Jose Luis never loved her. He also killed a man and let Jose Luis go down for it, with the help of his mother of course. He also has been playing a woman solely for her money and planned a fake wedding so he could take it all. Terrible person overall but the worst is he doesn't accept any consequences. He believes he can do anything and take no blame. Mostly because his mom lets him.
Another one of these terrible characters is Maria. Maria is probably my least favorite character. She grew up poor with Alejandro and is obviously bitter about it. When Monserrat arrives at the ranch, Maria immediately attacks Monserrat and wants them to break up. She also decides that since Alejandro is rich now, she should be considered the woman of the house and be treated as if she had money too. She yells at the help that she used to work with, and treats everyone like scum. The worst part is, Alejandro doesn't see it. She multiple times tries to kiss Alejandro and seduce him and even though he may reject her, he should honestly just kick her off the ranch. She is manipulative, fake, and insecure.
Pedro, is another antagonist. He is terrible to his wife, Nadia. He also beat a woman, Esmerelda, because she was done pretending to have an affair with him. He doesn't have any morals or feelings towards anyone. If I was gonna call anyone on this show a true psychopath-it would be Pedro. Multiple times he has tried to have people killed just so he can get what he wants. He meddles in things and stirs up trouble just for his enjoyment. Truly a terrible man.
Finally, Juevntino is an antagonist. He killed his own brother and pretended for months to be upset and comfort his niece. He tried to force himself on Dominga multiple times. He tried to kill Alejandro multiple times. He tried to rape/ kill Monserrat. He was just a terrible person. He was finally killed by a corrupt policeman so he wouldn't talk and somehow his gang is still stirring up trouble.
While all telenovelas have drama, Lo Que la Vida me Robo has an astronomical amount of drama. I think that the multitude of antagonists really played into the amount of drama this telenovela had.
Thanks for reading!

¿Ya se acabó la clase? (The class is already over?)

     Is it really over?

     I can't believe that this wonderful class has come to an end. I liked Telenovelas before, but now? I am in love, absolutely smitten. Completamente enamorada. I came into this class not knowing much about them. Except for the fact that once you started one, you were practically hooked until you finished it and in some of the worst cases, for life. This class has taught me so much about the history, characteristics, typology, representation and identity, consumption, production, regulation, and globalization of Telenovelas. 

     I figured the perfect way to end this class is to kind of do a review on all these things but center it around my Telenovela. I was watching "Lo que la vida me robó" before class started, but I wasn't really giving it a chance. This class made me sit down and analyze this Telenovela to the best of my ability and it didn't ruin it! Thank God because its good! Lo que la vida me robó is a remake of a Telenovela called "Bodas de odio" and is an adaptation of "Amor Real." It is absolutely Telenovela Rosa. It's the classic Cinderella story with a twist because the male protagonist is Cinderella. 


    It is a telenovela that was produced in Mexico by Televisa and it was broadcast on Canal de las Estrellas or Las Estrellas (Mexico)and Univision (America) from October 28, 2013 to July 27, 2014. It was broadcast in a prime time slot. This Telenovela is contemporary and the cast is very diverse. The cast member I found the most interesting is Monserrat (Angelique Boyer). She is a French-born Mexican actress. There is also Argentinian, and Puerto Rican presences, but predominantly Mexican.


     I think this Telenovela provides all kinds of representation. They give us looks into Machismo/Machisma, the submissive wife, the independent daughter, conniving mother and brother, supportive figures, etc. They also faked me out a couple of times. They had me thinking that one character was this way and then boom! They're actually like this. Lo que la vida me robó definitely had many of the characteristics that makes an epic telenovela. I don't there was anyone that was just not attractive. Well, maybe Juventino. But that's another story for another day. Alejandro Almonte (Sebastián Rulli) possesses a killer smile. Angelique Boyer had a nostalgic beauty about her.


     Montserrat's and José Luis' chemistry was off the charts, the same cannot be said for her and Alejandro Almonte. . . yet. When Monse and Jose Luis are together I feel all happy and bubbly on the inside and I have so much hope for them. I think all the actors were pretty talented. Especially Monse, she switched between emotions so often. The obstacles in this Telenovela that the protagonists are facing are probably some things that I don't know that I could handle. All of these things together take me on a never ending roller coaster ride as said before. I'm happy one second, three seconds later I'm annoyed and it just becomes a vicious cycle. 


- Writing Team

  • Author - Juan Carlos Acalá
  • Writers - Caridad Bravo Adams, Jorge Cervantes, Rossana Ruiz, Rosa Salazar Alenas, María Zarattini, and Fermín Zúñiga 

- Directing Team

  • Main Directors - Sergio Cantaño and Claudio Reyes
  • Assistant Directors - Rafael Léon de los Cobos and Mario Serrano
  • Floor Manager - Gerardo Fernández S., Adolfo Rivera,

- Production Team

  • Executive Producer - Angelli Nesma 
  • Production Assistants - Fernando Garrido, Mayra Angers, Juan Manuel Azbell, Denise Carmargo, Nancy Lhoman

- Theme Music 

  • El Perdedor - Enrinque Iglesis and Marco Antonio Solís


      Unfortunately, Lo que la vida me robó is not a telenovela that has reached an international scale. It was good, but I guess it didn't relate to more than one audience. It wasn't able to appeal. Maybe it was meant to be written that way though. However, there are telenovelas out there that speak to more than one audience. There are a few telenovelas that have been capable of drawing people out of their own little bubble into a new world entirely. Two being El Clon and Kara Para Ask. 

  Final Thoughts

In the beginning I couldn't say that I loved this Telenovela. It started off a little slow and it was like so many other ones that I have seen before. But I'm happy that I stuck around because it had some very interesting things in store. I like how there is constantly conflict, the use of dramatic irony is awesome, the love triangles, the betrayal, the resentment, I love it all. Even though this class is over I will continue to watch because I have been dragged into the whirlpool and I HAVE to know what's going to happen next. Thank you Dr. A for being so passionate about what you do and spreading such infectious attachment. 

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